Guest post by Natalie Swann.
As someone training in academia, it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Acknowledging your sources is important. I train my students (when I have them) to reference their work.
But I also educate them that plagiarism is not a sin. Rather, referencing is a discipline; it is a unique product of modern Western academic practice.
While many students knowingly engage in plagiarism, there are also many students who live in terror of becoming culpable of it. The terror they feel is a moral one; the fear of a “scarlet P” on a student record has curiously religious overtones.
But nowhere in Scripture is there condemnation for what we understand as plagiarism. The writers of Genesis did not footnote Babylonian creation myths.
Plagiarism is a professional misdemeanour, not a sin.
Perhaps Pastor Driscoll is at fault in not submitting to the rulers and authorities of our age. Perhaps there are real sins at work, like pride or hypocrisy.
But, please, can we stop acting like plagiarism is a sin?